Writing 101: Don’t Stop the Rockin’

On this free writing day, remember the words of author Anne Lamott: “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.”

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.


Writing is rockin’. There’s no other way about it. And no one’s gonna stop me, honey. Whether I’m writing about Freddie Mercury reincarnated as a gander or pondering the nature of spiderwebs (which I haven’t done yet) or making my own mark on a co-authored novel, I will be rockin’. And I can’t stop rockin’.

Sometimes I have little to say, like when I feel frustrated. I wake up, stumble to feed the dogs and let the ducks out and then make espresso. The living room is cozy. I’ve never been more satisfied with the ambiance. Yet, I pass by. The laptop sits cold as I sweep or do dishes, make excuses to run errands or muck around digging holes. Don’t get me wrong, these things need to be done and, knowing me, I will scrub the pores in the wall because if I notice it’s dirty, I will feel a tug of duty to clean it. I’m afraid of getting lost in writing. What if I create a world so spellbinding I can’t wait to enter the next word and I forget all that’s important to me?

Wow–that sounds like what happens when people become engrossed in social media, only wouldn’t it be far better to be creating something of use rather than wasting hours refreshing a corporate advertising site? Imagine that. <—I revel in sarcasm, thanks.

So say I wake up tomorrow. Feed the dogs. Let them out. Do duck chores. Make a delicious cup of coffee and have a snack of yogurt and a banana, perhaps leftover vegetarian Tom Kha Tofu soup, and then…start writing. Today I read a manuscript for several hours, took a break due to brain fog, only to return and write my heart out on this blog. Why not every day?

Restriction is the game. I can play the game. Take away the source of input, restrain, and shift focus to another outlet. Put all the words down there as if they are my blood supply. The old methods have never worked, otherwise there would be something to show now. More than this. I know that. I also know that there was a lot I had to do around my house and I have been doing everything in my power to complete each task that’s been waiting. And I have done well, though it’s taken a year and a half to get this far. And now that so much has settled, am I not ready to get started more seriously?

I can’t continue to be like Freddie, Joaquin Phoenix’s character in the movie “The Master” and say, “If I could fart right now, I’d fart in your face.” While I’ve had a similar M.O. for many years, it’s time to move on. Farts are for kids. Farting around will not get me far. Not if I’m serious. (And I mean that metaphorically, of course.)

Time is not waiting for me. In fact, my time may be up sooner than I think.

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